Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who is considering challenging Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, has suggested that some 2022 World Cup matches in Qatar kick-off as late as 1am; meaning matches could end as late as 3:30am local time.
The ex-Chilean football chief said moving the games to that time of night would avoid the worst of the heat and allow the world tournament to remain scheduled during summer months.
It is expected that the Qatar World Cup will be moved to the winter in 2022 to avoid searing temperatures, with Sepp Blatter’s suggestion of a November/December tournament being the likeliest scenario. There have also been recommendations for the competition to be moved to January and February. But that alternative is not favored by the major football leagues around the world and would put the World Cup in direct competition with the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl in the United States.
“You could play the first games at 7pm (12pm EST), the second games at 10pm (3pm EST) and the third matches at 1am (6pm EST),” Mayne-Nicholls told BBC Sport.
“You’d change everything. It would be a couple of hours behind in Europe, and that would help TV.”
“You could move it towards May, until the middle of June.”
“The weather would still be very warm at night, but the sun is not there and that could help.”
“I know it’s not easy. We’d sleep during the day and work during the night.”
“It’s only an idea. You’d have to investigate a little bit more.”
“I have never played in Qatar in May. Let’s organize a youth tournament, invite countries from all the confederations, and let’s use this time to see if it works.”
“Then we can investigate and have conclusions, but we cannot keep talking about Qatar from Zurich, we have to check it. And if this is not a solution then we have to find another one.”
A task force set up by FIFA to decide on the best date for the 2022 World Cup will meet again in November before a final decision is made next year. Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Federation is heading up the task force alongside FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke.
In September, Germany’s Theo Zwanziger broke ranks to claim that the 2022 World Cup will not be played in Qatar because of the extreme temperatures. The FIFA official said he believed the summer tournament would be moved to another country.
FIFA were quick to point out that Zwanziger was expressing a personal opinion rather than reflecting the views of the governing body. But the former president of the German football association’s thoughts of having the World Cup awarded to another host country in order to avoid problems with heat exposure and scheduling conflicts with many of the world’s football leagues is mirrored by most people across the globe.
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